Bulk shopping / meal planning- General Budget & Finance

I'm hearing that it's cheaper to buy groceries 1x or 2x a month and to buy in bulk (we are a family of four). My problem is, I can't seem to plan for meals more than 4-5 days, then we can't ever stick to the meal plan. How in the world do you buy that much food, to make sure you have your

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  1. #1
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    Default Bulk shopping / meal planning


    I'm hearing that it's cheaper to buy groceries 1x or 2x a month and to
    buy in bulk (we are a family of four).
    My problem is, I can't seem to plan for meals more than 4-5 days, then
    we can't ever stick to the meal plan.

    How in the world do you buy that much food, to make sure you have your
    breakfast, lunch, and dinner supplies all at home for 2-3 weeks?

    Anyone experienced on meal planning and bulk shopping? Please help!


    Thanks!
    TC

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  3. #2
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    Re: Budget101.com : Bulk shopping / meal planning


    I go "major" grocery shopping 1x-2x a month.
    I make a list of the items currently in our pantry and freezer. Around those items, I build our meals. There are several staple meals that we have (tuna casserole, tuna sandwiches, baked potatoes, spaghetti, lasagna, beef stew, soups - usually homemade, pizza, baked chicken, pork, ham, banana bread, muffins - are among them.)

    Then, I scan the recipes that I am interested in trying. There are other things that I get all the time (veggies - fresh & frozen), oatmeal, raisins, cat litter, cat food, dog food, beans, etc. They go on the list as well.

    Fill out a calendar with what you are eating this month. Every day. Then, you will have someplace to start. Whatever you have for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, put it on the calendar.

    Get a piece of paper and put it on the fridge with a magnet and a pen. As you go through and run out of things throughout the week, write them down WHEN YOU RUN OUT - so you don't forget!

    Buy from that list and you will replenish what you have used. Make adjustments. You can use your coupons to help you shop and save additional money on what you are buying.

    If you want to have the freedom to eat whatever from day to day, buy enough food for breakfast, lunch and dinner for the coming 10 days (1 and a half weeks). Then, each night, plan food for the next day. Starting out planning for the coming week may be a bit much when you are starting out. (Remember, you have food on hand for 10 days already.) Just go "shopping" in your pantry.

    Don't return to the store. If you shopped smart and used your list, you should have everything on hand. Spices, veggies, meat - if you are meat eating family, side dishes.

    If you bake bread or rolls, plan ahead to allot enough time for baking. If you need to bake a casserole, assemble it the night before and then, all you have to do is bake it in time for lunch or dinner. When dinnertime rolls around, you are not in the position of thinking "I want ___ for dinner and it take ______ minutes to cook." You may feel like "it's just easier to eat fast food or order in delivery." (Think - added expense!!!!!) Yes, we all do it now & then, but plan for that in your food budget.

    If you use a slow cooker (also known as a crockpot) or take time to assemble meals as far as you can ahead of time, the time factor goes away.

    I use a grocery list EVERY SINGLE time I go to the store for our major shopping. If all I need is Milk or Eggs, I go in, go to that section of the store, get the item and leave. (NOTE: Take just the $5.00 that is needed to make the purchase and pay the tax. If you don't have the extra cash, debit card, credit card or checkbook, you will not spend more money.) This is a learning process. The grocery store is there to make money and tempt you at every turn.

    Your job is to feed your family and save where you can. You can learn to cook, if you don't know how. It doesn't have to be fancy to start out. Make grilled cheese sandwiches and open a can of tomato soup. You will not go to bed hungry. Start out with Ramen Noodles and add leftover chicken. Make pancakes or waffles. Scramble some eggs and add toast and oatmeal on the side. Spaghetti and meatballs can be topped with a variety of sauces, not just "traditional" tomato based sauces, meat sauce or marinara. You can move up to roast duck later.

    When you are shopping, remember that the more steps you do, the less it costs. For example - a whole chicken that you cut up at home is a lot less expensive than boneless, pre-seasoned chicken breast strips. If you shred the cheese, it is less expensive than pre-shredded. If you make your own pizza, you save LOTS of $$$$$ and you can customize it. Soup is a cinch to make at home. Potatoes can feed a lot of people for a long time in a variety of ways and raw potatoes are dirt cheap!!!!!

    HTH,
    Herlean

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    Re: Budget101.com : Bulk shopping / meal planning


    Some fridges can be written on directly with dry erase markers, or write on wash off (transparency) markers! No need for magnets, or paper.

    dee

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    Re: Budget101.com : Bulk shopping / meal planning


    Hi there. I shop 2X per month and unfortunately, you have to do the work to
    stick to the meal plan. A little effort goes a long way. Now, that's not
    to say that I don't stray from the plan...for example, one night last week I
    had meatloaf scheduled but we had so many leftovers that I ended up freezing
    the meatloaf and we had leftovers instead...no biggie, and now I have an
    extra meal frozen! Or I may have planned for spaghetti one night but just
    don't feel like it so I'll switch nights with something else. If a written
    out menu doesn't work for you because you feel that you change too often,
    maybe you could write out a list of 14 meals and just choose in the morning
    which meal you want to have and cross it off your list.

    I don't plan out my breakfasts and lunches, I just figure what are some
    things that my daughter will want and have them on hand. When Mac and
    cheese is on sale I stock up, hot dogs get tossed in the freezer if I buy

    them bulk or find them cheap. I plan one of my suppers to be french toast
    or pancakes because then I make a huge batch and freeze what we don't eat so
    that I can pop them in the toaster.

    GL!!

    Jennifer

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    Re: Bulk shopping / meal planning


    I hate to grocery shop.. but I watch for sales and stock up on things I
    know we will eat..

    I don't plan menus out.. I just keep things on hand to make our
    favorite things..My hubby calls me a moddy eater...and he's right.. if
    I am not in the mood for something then I won't eat it.. no matter how
    much planning I've done.

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    Re: Budget101.com : Re: Bulk shopping / meal planning


    My husband and I grocery shop too often. We need to learn not to go as often. But we do purchase things we like also. We have a big freezer and can fit good amount in it. I don't cut coupons since I get things on sale most of the times. We also shop at Sam's and Aldis. Although Aldis prices are not so low any more. We don't plan our meals ahead. I go into the freezer and pull out whatever meat we are in the mood for. I then make some kind of starch and vegetable with it. I am a big bargain shopper. I rarely pay full price. In July/August I will hit department stores and purchase summer items for next year. In March/April I will get winter stuff for next year. If a store is going out of business, I will get things (like small appliances etc.) at that time since it will keep. Even when the kids were little I was good a guessing their sizes for next season. Our kids have been trained well, if it's not on sale we don't even look at it.

    Melissa

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    New To Group & Need Opinion






    Hi Everyone,



    I just joined the group last night. I hate to jump right in, but I?d like to ask an opinion question.



    First, a little about me. I?m 45, single, am purchasing a home (been in the home since 11/98). I have a good paying job (hate the job but it does pay well).



    My problem is credit card debt and getting out of it.



    By the end of the month, I?m stretched so tight that if I do need something, I have to charge it and pay it over a few months.



    I do keep tract of my money (I write everything down). I?m not really wasteful, it?s just that the car payment and the credit card bills are killing me.



    My car payment is $425 per month with 4 years left. Then, I pay $300 per month on credit card debt and as you know, it doesn?t seem to go down much.



    I rec?d a advertisement from my mortgage company saying I was approved for a home equity loan. I called them up yesterday and spoke to them about it but told them I wanted to think it over before making a decsision. It would be a 15 year loan, no penalty for paying off early, fixed rate of 8% (which, unless you keep juggling those cards to ?special intro rates?, that?s not bad). My payment would be $315.00 per month instead of $725.00 per month. That would give me $410 per month free in cash. I would put most of that in a savings account (say $300). The other $100 would still go in a savings account, but be available when the oil needs changing or something?if I don?t need it, then it can stay in savings.



    Any opinions???



    Thanks

    Donna

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  10. #8
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    Default Bulk shopping


    Bulk shopping dosent really apply to me,,since my children are now grown and its just hubby and I and my brother now lives with us.So 3 adults wouldnt work with bulk purchases I feel.But to stick with your budget and meal planning,,just like others have planned, buy meals based on sales from your favorite store and you save more that way.One week at a time!

  11. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Savin' Moola
    New To Group & Need Opinion






    Hi Everyone,



    I just joined the group last night. I hate to jump right in, but I?d like to ask an opinion question.



    First, a little about me. I?m 45, single, am purchasing a home (been in the home since 11/98). I have a good paying job (hate the job but it does pay well).



    My problem is credit card debt and getting out of it.



    By the end of the month, I?m stretched so tight that if I do need something, I have to charge it and pay it over a few months.



    I do keep tract of my money (I write everything down). I?m not really wasteful, it?s just that the car payment and the credit card bills are killing me.



    My car payment is $425 per month with 4 years left. Then, I pay $300 per month on credit card debt and as you know, it doesn?t seem to go down much.



    I rec?d a advertisement from my mortgage company saying I was approved for a home equity loan. I called them up yesterday and spoke to them about it but told them I wanted to think it over before making a decsision. It would be a 15 year loan, no penalty for paying off early, fixed rate of 8% (which, unless you keep juggling those cards to ?special intro rates?, that?s not bad). My payment would be $315.00 per month instead of $725.00 per month. That would give me $410 per month free in cash. I would put most of that in a savings account (say $300). The other $100 would still go in a savings account, but be available when the oil needs changing or something?if I don?t need it, then it can stay in savings.



    Any opinions???



    Thanks

    Donna
    Hey Donna be careful!! I recomend you get not do the home equity loan becaue it will hurt you if your habbits have not changed. We considered that but it sounds to me like you might have to take some more painful but practial mesures to turn your life around. Can you sell your car or trade on one with cheaper payments, becasue you really can' t affortd what you have now. Perhaps you should consider down sizing your home? Do you have more room than you need? Can you get a smaller home and save on morgate, pluse get your equity to work as a larger down payment on that smaller house! I'm just trying to help not critize trust me we have made some painful modifatins to our life stlye but it has been for the best!! Hope that helps! [smilie=to funny.gif]

  12. #10
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    Default Buying bulk & menuplanning


    I hit Save a Lot or Caswells for canned goods, some meats etc. I have a pantry in the basement that I have my stockpile.

    When bad weather hits, or you or the kids are sick it's so handy having items already on hand.

    If you use a dayrunner there are FREE printables online for both menu & grocery lists ..

    Personally I want to tweak the Donna Young 1/2 page version and fit in my diet/exercise and water page too.

    I checked these for deadlinks, but haven't pulled out the rest from files. Perhaps they will help:
    Ria

    ~~~~ MENU PLANNERS

    DONNA YOUNG's BLANK 3 COLUMN LIST AND 7 DAY SPACE
    http://donnayoung.org/household/full...s/menuback.pdf

    DONNA YOUNG's MENU PLANNER (FULL PAGE)
    http://donnayoung.org/household/full...files/menu.pdf

    DONNA YOUNG's HORIZONTAL MENU PLANNER
    http://donnayoung.org/household/full...s/menu_hnl.pdf
    3 meals & snack .. S-S schedule

    MENU PLANNING
    http://www.creativehomemaking.com/download/menuplan.pdf
    not crazy about this one

    ~~~~ COMBO PAGES:
    DONNA YOUNG MENU & GROCERY LIST (1/2 PAGE FORMAT)
    http://donnayoung.org/household/half.../menu-list.pdf
    L side .. can write in the day, space for 3 meals ... R side grocery list, todo's etc with check off

    DONNA YOUNG's MENU/GROCERY LIST (1/2 PAGE FORMAT)
    http://donnayoung.org/household/half...halflists5.pdf
    *** grocery list is on the outside edge of page, with room for 7 meals .. set up for L & R printing

    DONNA YOUNG's MENU/GROCERY LIST & TODO PAGE (1/2 PAGE FORMAT)
    http://donnayoung.org/household/half...halflists4.pdf (check off page is 2 columns)
    http://donnayoung.org/household/half...halflists2.pdf (check off page is 2 columns)
    http://donnayoung.org/household/half...halflists3.pdf (check off area is whole 1/2 page)
    http://donnayoung.org/household/half.../halflists.pdf (check off area is whole 1/2 page)
    same design as above for menu/grocery but the other 1/2 page is a lined checkoff

    ~~~ JUST GROCERIES !

    DONNA YOUNG's BLANK GROCERY LIST
    http://donnayoung.org/household/full...les/shop_h.pdf

    DONNA YOUNG's GROCERY LIST
    http://donnayoung.org/household/full...es/grocery.pdf

    Woman's Day GROCERY LIST
    Grocery List
    can't edit on line

 

 

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